Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe (Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe) is celebrated all across Mexico on the 12th of December. Her feast has its origin in 1531 AD. It is believed that Mexican native man Juan Diego first met the Virgin Mary on Tepeyac Hill outside Mexico City. It happened on the 9th of December. At this meeting he was asked to go to the Bishop Juan de Zumarraga and request the building of church at the location of meeting.

The bishop was suspicious and asked Juan Diego to prove him that he is telling the truth. Three days later he went on a visit to his ill uncle. On his way he again met the Virgin Mary at the same place as the first time. When asked to give a proof of her presence the Virgin Mary showed Juan Diego a blooming rose bush. This was very unusual considering the cold winter weather.

He then took couple of roses and wrapped them in his cloak. When the bishop saw the roses he accepted them as the valid proof that Juan Diego truly met the Virgin Mary. Soon after that yet another proof appeared. When he removed the roses there was an image of the Virgin Mary imprinted on the surface of the cloak.

Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe

It is interesting to mention that she appeared as the woman of dark skin, just the same as the one of local native population. That is why people start calling her “La Virgen Morena” or the Dark Virgin.

In next years lot of natives converted to Catholicism. Juan Diego and his wife were among them. Before becoming a Catholic his name was Cuauhtlatoatzin. The late Pope John Paul II declared him a saint in 2002. His feast day is on the 9th of December.

On the place where Saint Juan Diego met the Virgin Mary now there is a basilica. It was built in 1976. Huge number of pilgrims visit the basilica each year. On the 11th and 12th of December 2009 6.1 million people visited this Mexico City basilica. In 1999 Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared the Patroness of the Americas, the Empress of Latin America, and the Protectress of Unborn Children.